The weather outside is changing and autumn is officially here, in fact, it arrived early in the morning on Thursday, September 22nd. And like clockwork, the sunshine had that warm golden hue to it and shadows were long. Darkness fell a little quicker and the night was noticeable colder.
I was born, raised and lived in South Florida the majority of my life. This is about the time of year when the heat becomes more tolerable, the humidity less offensive and the days generally more pleasant. When I lived there, September represented the end of swimming and floating on a raft just off of Hollywood Beach or my friend’s Long Key beach home on stilts. Winter was approaching and the water and air began to feel too cool to enjoy swimming. Yes, I was a wimp. A Florida, Keys, Bahamas spoiled brat who, when she went back to Florida for a visit after the first year of relocating to Colorado, refused to go in the water in June (get this), because the water was too cold!
Yes, I admit, I still turn on the hot water to brush my teeth even after living here for 18 years. But I’ve made progress: When I went to Jamaica a few years back in March, I recognized my desperate situation and severely limited access to salt water so I swallowed hard, bucked-up and dove immediately into the turtle grass filled bay. It truly was a proud moment for me. So I have improved and thicken my skin. However, I will never, ever, ever, wade in a mountain stream wearing only Chaco sandals. Never. It is painfully cold and simply a never-can-do for me. I love my waders and bring them everywhere. Except, possibly my next trip.
Glory be I’m heading south! South to my old stomping grounds to do some crazy fishing for large species on a fixed-line… tarpon tenkara-style. At least that’s what I’m aiming to do. Who knows how it’ll turn out? And that’s what makes it so much fun. Scott Yetter is the crazy, adventurous guide that is willing to take on this challenge. We serendipitous met via Facebook at a moment in time when he, a Florida Keys flats guide at sightfishfloridakeys.com, just happened to be in the Rocky Mountains (my backyard), on his way to Montana. Like WHAT, are the chances of THAT?! In my mind, destiny had spoken. This fly fishing guide, who for years guided on the rivers in Montana chasing trout, but became addicted to flats fly fishing and flip flops, was in Colorado just as I was reaching out to him to fish the Florida Keys. And to top it off, he was familiar with the tenkara method. Destiny had not just spoken, but had actually screamed in my ear.
I head out the first week of November so to me, it’s practically winter there. Old flashbacks keep flooding my brain of tiptoeing near the water’s edge and screeching when the tide touched me. Panic-not for I AM TRANSFORMED! Right? So like after living in Colorado for 18 years I should be able to hang on the flats in shorts or nylon breathable, SPF 50, mosquito repellent, zip-off pants, and be OK, right? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Hmmmm, we’ll see. I’m prepping mentally for the impending cold out there on the Florida flats in November. Sun barely beating down at 85 degrees, the warm Atlantic ocean breeze continually wrapping around me and water temperatures barely hovering above 80 degrees. This Florida Girl turned Colorado Girl, is gonna swallow hard, buck-up and once again, dive right in. Not sure I’ll be able to down that frozen margarita after fishing though. (Well, I might have to buck-up just one more time).